The US' most economically successful state has strict controls over alcohol consumption and gambling - and a history of polygamy

Emma Haslett
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Salt Lake City skyline
Mormons make up 60 per cent of Utah's population (Source: Getty)

The US's most economically successful state has some of the tightest alcohol and gambling laws in the US - and, er, a deep-rooted history of polygamy...

Yep, new rankings published by WalletHub show Utah has the best economy of any of the US' 50 states. The state is best known for its ties with Mormonism, which is the religion of more than 60 per cent of the local population. The church frowns heavily on alcohol consumption and gambling - but is also (rather unfairly, since it was outlawed in 1895), associated with polygamy.

Utah was also ranked as the most inventive state, with the highest number of independent-inventor patents per 1,000 working-age residents, although it only had the third-highest number of business startups.

Read more: Utah - America's secret scenic wonderland

Utah was followed by Washington - which is not only home to Seattle, but also provides the setting for tweenage vampire sensation Twilight (vampires are big business).

California took third place. Not surprisingly given its status as the US' tech capital, it had the highest level of venture-capital funding per capita, alongside Massachusetts and New York.

Meanwhile, Mississippi was ranked 51st (the ranking included the District of Columbia, which isn't technically a state) for economic success, with the lowest median annual household income and the third-highest unemployment rate.

Last week the US dollar plummeted after non-farm payroll figures, which measure the number of new job openings, came in way below expectations. But in a speech last night, US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said she was "cautiously optimistic" over the state of the economy.